For a Maui father and daughter, a weekend fishing trip turns into a nightmare at sea

The family shared their story in hopes other anglers won’t suffer the same fate.
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:50 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 1:54 PM HST
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HUELO (HawaiiNewsNow) - A father-daughter fishing trip on Maui this past weekend nearly ended in tragedy when their boat crashed into rocks and they became stranded.

The Moreaus now want their story to be shared so others don’t make the same mistake.

Claude Moreau, 70, has been fishing on Maui for over 40 years.

He and his daughter Charme were on their way back to Kahului Harbor from Hana on Sunday morning after a successful weekend at sea.

Charme was sleeping when Claude set his boat to autopilot and accidentally dozed off.

“I sat down because I was tired, and the next thing I know I was sleeping. I didn’t know I was sleeping. Next thing I know, BAM! That’s how I woke up,” said Claude.

That was the sound of his boat, Maile, smashing into giant rocks in waters off the island’s north shore.

“I looked at him and said, ‘Make a mayday call right now,’” said Charme Moreau Taksony. “He got in, ‘Mayday. Mayday This is Maile.’ Then the boat went under, and he went under with the boat.”

Charme lost sight of him.

Her dad was trapped under the boat.

“You see those movies where people are trying to save those people under water and they can barely get to them, and I had that feeling because I went down and I couldn’t see him,” Charme said.

Through strength, courage, and the will to survive, she dove under water, found her dad, and pulled him back to the surface.

But they still were stuck in the middle of the ocean.

“I look at the shoreline and I’m like crashing huge rocks, and crashing huge lava rocks,” said Charme.

Charme said they had no choice.

“I held him and I went on my back just like lifeguard style on my back just pulling and swimming with my head up and taking deep breaths and I kept telling him, ‘Don’t let the water go in your mouth,’ because that’s what was happening, it was going in and drowning both of us,” she said.

Charme said they swam over an hour to get to the rocky shoreline.

“The waves are crashing, we have to not bash our heads open. So that was the point when we were trying to get in, I had that moment, like, wow, we may not make it.”

The pair took the chance and crashed onto the rocks.

“We both tumble and I just see him tumbling, but we’re on the rocks and I’m like, ‘We made it!” said Charme.

But there was yet another huge obstacle. They were at the bottom of a giant cliff.

“Mahalo Ke Akua and all His angles for those wonderful fishermen who put ropes. Somebody put ropes. I was like, ‘There’s ropes! I can make it!’” she said.

Charme did make it. She climbed all the way up .and was able to track down people who called 911.

Maui Fire Department flew in a helicopter to pluck Claude from the rocks and took him to the hospital.

With just a few bumps and bruises, Claude is happy to be alive and grateful to his community and hopes his story will be a lesson for others.

“We have to learn from this. There should always be at least one person not sleeping and if you’re that tired, you should anchor the boat and sleep,” Claude said.

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